Postal unions seek White House help on pay, benefits

Four unions representing the nation's postal workers are pleading for a meeting with the White House to address possible funding shortfalls for workers' payroll and retiree health benefits, according to a letter obtained by CongressDaily.

The presidents of the American Postal Workers Union, National Rural Letter Carriers' Association, National Association of Letter Carriers and National Postal Mailhandlers Union co-signed the Tuesday letter to White House Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina, warning that the U.S. Postal Service is at risk of defaulting on a $5.4 billion payment to prefund retiree health benefits at the end of September.

The letter alleges that USPS "may not be able to make payroll in October and will be forced to issue IOUs instead."

Yvonne Yoerger, a spokeswoman for USPS, confirmed that the unions wrote the letter but disputed the claim that payroll deadlines will be missed.

"That's not something that's been discussed at all," she said. "We are committed to making payroll."

Yoerger said USPS will continue to work with OMB and the Office of Personnel Management to determine if and how the Postal Service can meet the Sept. 30 deadline to pay forward $5.4 billion in future health liability costs.

The Postal Service is required by law to set aside funds for future retiree health care costs, rather than paying recipients as costs are incurred as other government agencies do. As a result of a $3 billion loss to date this year, the unions wrote, no money is available for those future payments, and regular payroll deadlines may not be met unless other funds are tapped.

"Such a [financial] collapse can be averted without resort to a taxpayer bailout by reforming the retiree health prefunding provisions of the law and [by] giving the Postal Service access to its own resources in the Postal Service Retiree Health Benefits Fund, which now has a balance of $32 billion," the unions wrote.

But that transfer of funds would require congressional approval, and the unions fear that pressure from the White House will be needed to prompt quick action. "We believe that the Obama administration must intervene now to avoid both a political and economic train wreck," they wrote.

Reps. John McHugh, R-N.Y., and Danny Davis, D-Ill., introduced legislation this year that would amend the law to allow USPS to reach deeper into the flush Retiree Health Benefits Fund, but the unions argue the measure would not do enough to fix the financial problems.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.